The trucks on the stands at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show are the safest, most comfortable, most fuel efficient, and most technologically advanced ever. Period!
A lot has changed in the 55 years since the first Brisbane Truck Show. Back then, trucks were loud and proud, hard to steer and lacked those creature comforts that our nation’s truck drivers now get as factory standard.
Romanticism is a strong emotion within the trucking industry and love for iconic big bangers like the Mack R Models or Super-Liners of the past will never die. The same goes for the Kenworth W Model and its gorgeous bonnet and the White RoadBoss, the forerunner to the Western Star, which has such a proud connection to Brisbane and the industry.
However, while our heart tells us that the low-revving, high-torque E6 engine of the Mack R Model was an incredible industrial achievement, or the ability to spec your W Model with a Cummins, Detroit or Cat engine was revolutionary, hindsight tells us that these beauties were just simply stepping stones to where we are now.
Six decades on from the original show, we are in a new phase of transport, where the internal combustion engine is more powerful and efficient, less polluting, and quieter than ever before.
The trucks are safer, more comfortable and they’re as technologically advanced as a modern car. In reality, the trucks on the stands at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show are the best trucks ever built. Period!
But, the internal combustion engine that has been the staple of our industry is no longer the only power source.
The 2023 Brisbane Truck Show will undoubtedly be an important next step in this evolution.
As you walk the halls of the 2023 event and check out the latest trucks – from those powered by traditional internal combustion engines, like the Mack Anthem, Kenworth K220 or Freightliner Cascadia, to the greatest array of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles ever on show, compare yourselves to those that attended the Truck Shows of days gone by and witnessed the unveiling of the Super-Liner, RoadBoss or W Model, because you never know, we could be seeing the next halcyon days of the truck.
‘Next Level’ Kenworth
While the anniversary Legend SAR on display at the 2021 show stepped back in time to pay homage to an icon, the future of Kenworth trucks is certainly to be found in the recently released Kenworth K220.
The K220 is the brand’s most technologically advanced truck and sits front and centre at PACCAR Australia’s stand at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
The most noticeable change to its predecessor, the K200, is the operating environment. Stepping inside the K220 cab, you’ll find a more modern interior fitted with a 15-inch high-definition display as well as a new eight-inch audio-visual navigation unit that has smartphone integration. However, it still feels and looks like a Kenworth inside.
PACCAR Australia has also updated the automatic transmission, with the new K220 swapping out its previous Eaton Ultrashift for the new Eaton 18-speed Endurant XD Pro automated transmission. An 18-speed Road Ranger box is still available.
Safety-wise, the company says the K220 has the largest range of active and passive safety options ever offered by Kenworth Australia and includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, side object detection and collision mitigation.
This is by far the most modern Kenworth truck ever and brings the brand in line with what its competitors are doing.
Like most things Kenworth, the K220 will be hugely popular at the show.
Location: Stand 40, Hall 4
Bright New Star
Thanks to its important historical link with the city of Brisbane, Western Star has had a long connection with the Brisbane Truck Show.
Last show, Western Star paid tribute to the first-ever Western Star released in Australia in 1983 by painting one of its latest 4800 models with a special tribute livery with a blue cabin, red chassis and heritage pearl white highlights.
The nod to history was special and had countless Western Star groupies flocking for photos.
Fast forward to the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show, and we see an all-new Western Star range released, arguably just as important as that original 1983 Star released all those years ago.
The new X-Series – including the 47X, 48X and 49X – are the first new Stars for quite some time, featuring the latest Detroit Diesel 13- and 15-litre engines as well as a new lighter cabin design with a modern interior.
With a menacing new design, and an appetite to succeed like the Western Stars that have come before, it’s safe to say the new X-Series trucks from Western Star will have the Brisbane Truck Show buzzing.
Location: Stand 54, Hall 2
New Bulldog Breed
While the Mack Super-Liner may be the most iconic Mack truck to ride the roads in Australia, it’s the company’s new Anthem model that will set its future course.
The next-generation Bulldog is here and the Anthem is that for Mack. Just take a look at its sleeker, more aerodynamic design in comparison to the big and muscular Macks that have come before it.
After years in the US, the Anthem finally arrived in Australia in 2021 – had it not been for COVID-19, the Anthem would have been on display in full at the previous Truck Show but will now have its first major outing at the 2023 event.
The Anthem has a keen focus on safety and comes loaded with the Bendix Wingman Fusion safety system as standard.
It is also one of the most fuel-efficient Macks ever, thanks to tweaks to the MP8 engine and the mDrive transmission, which supposedly talk more seamlessly to each other, and its new aerodynamic cabin.
Speaking of cabins, you’ll find plenty of room inside the Anthem. In fact, the new stand-up sleeper has 35 per cent more space than previous cabins with the intention to provide the operator with a more comfortable rest experience.
The Anthem is still ‘Mack’ enough to appeal to its rusted-on Bulldog lovers but will also provide the luxuries that come with modernisation.
With Mack’s parent company Volvo Group Australia leading the way in the future technology field, it’s safe to say that Mack is in safe hands for the future.
Location: Stand 49, Hall 3
The New MAN
As a brand, MAN can claim it is one of the oldest in the game. The German trucking giant has been making trucks since 1915, and with the recent release of its new TG (Truck Generation) range – the first newly-developed MAN truck in two decades, it’s ready to push the envelope on the next generation of trucks just like it did more than 100 years ago.
The new TG range – headed up by the ‘International Truck of the Year 2021’ TGX model – is making its first big Australian-event debut at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
The TG range is just what MAN was looking for; an efficient, innovative and good-looking range of trucks to compete in the competitive Euro truck market in Australia.
The MAN brand, through its Australian distributor Penske Australia, is trying to reconnect with the Australian market by offering that ‘next-gen’ truck that’s more tool than toy. Fuel economy is the TG range’s bread and butter, with the option of engines ranging from the 250hp D08 to the 640hp D38 Euro 6e engine (with various options in between).
The TG’s Tipmatic gearbox shift system also uses software to determine the optimum moving off and gearshift strategy in all situations in conjunction with load and inclination detection.
MAN was a part of the first generation of trucks, and with the TG series it seems they’re ready for the next generation of trucks.
Location: Stand 54, Hall 2
After many years of success in the US and many years of additional testing here Down Under, the 2019 Brisbane Truck Show was where Daimler Truck Australia finally lifted the curtain on its impressive Freightliner Cascadia.
The camouflaged “winter soldier” test unit Cascadia proudly stood on the stand, giving Australians their first glimpse of what is now the flagship Freightliner. Two years later at the 2021 Brisbane Truck Show, punters could put in an order.
The Cascadia is a huge step in innovation and technology in comparison to previous Argosy and Coronado truck models. It’s shaken the stereotypical buff, yank truck appearance and instead opts for the modern, sleek, aerodynamic design of its sibling company, Mercedes-Benz, and its impressive Actros range.
Under the bonnet, the Cascadia offers either the 13- or 16-litre Detroit Diesel engines, which are reportedly good on fuel, and inside the Cascadia you’ll find a cabin filled with lush, soft-touch materials that resemble the interior of premium car brands.
Freightliner left no stone unturned to make sure the Cascadia was right for the Australian market, and reportedly built numerous prototypes to test new components and systems locally, while also simulating millions of road kilometres with cold chamber and hot room sessions to ensure effective operation in extreme temperature conditions.
Freightliner, together with other Daimler Truck Australia brands Fuso and Mercedes-Benz, make some of the most modern, technologically advanced trucks in the world, and has demanded from itself the need to keep evolving the ‘truck’ for the future.
Location: Stand 44, Hall 4
Fuso Powers Up
Freightliner stablemate Fuso will have the newest version of the mighty Shogun 510 at the show for the first time.
The only Japanese truck to top the 500hp barrier, the Shogun 510 Tipper boasts a high-performance 510hp 13-litre engine and 12-speed Automated Manual Transmission (AMT).
Sitting alongside the Shogun is a 510hp prime mover capable of pulling a B-double at a low operating cost thanks to excellent fuel economy and legendary reliability of the 13-litre engine.
The Shogun 510 also has the benefit of a strong warranty that covers the truck for five years or 500,000km (whichever comes first).
Location: Stand 44, Hall 4
Isuzu Marks 50 Years
The year 2022 marked 50 years of operation for the Isuzu brand here in Australia, and it’s because of trucks like the classic SBR model that the company has fared so well.
Speaking of SBRs, do you remember when Isuzu found one of its old classic 1979 SBR 422 with 1.3 million kilometres on the clock and decided to restore it?
The process took Isuzu Australia’s Product Development Department two years to complete – with the help of some key partners like Narva and Austruck Truck Bodies – and the results were pretty spectacular.
The interior and exterior were fully restored. All rust, dents and blemishes were removed, a fresh coat of white paint was applied and a custom-built body with a Tasmanian oak floor fitted, leaving the 43-year Isuzu in a near-original state.
As mentioned, it’s trucks like the SBR that have made Isuzu Australia’s top-selling truck brand, however, when compared to the latest Isuzu N-Series trucks, the poor old SBR is now a museum piece.
The latest N-Series light truck range is by far the most sophisticated and advanced Isuzu to date.
Inside you get a 10.1-inch infotainment screen with Apple and Android connectivity, transforming that standard bleak light commercial vehicle interior into something a bit more user-friendly.
Safety is key with the new N-Series, with the range adopting Isuzu’s newest safety technology ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems).
Autonomous emergency braking that can detect pedestrians comes as standard, as does lane-departure warning, traffic movement warning, distance warning and stability control (plus heaps more).
Head-to-head with the SBR, the N-Series has between 149-190hp from its four-cylinder engine compared to 132hp from its 5.8-litre six-cylinder diesel.
As mentioned before, the N-Series has a suite of safety features and technology compared to the SBR’s simple seatbelts.
Let’s not make a habit of poking fun at iconic old trucks, but it certainly proves a point. The new N-series – which is front and centre at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show – is a next-generation truck.
Location: Stand 52, Hall 2
UD Updates Quon
The Japanese truck segment has exploded over the past 10 years and a lot of this has to do with brands like UD and its flagship model, the Quon.
Under the Volvo Group Australia banner, UD has flourished and public perception has certainly shifted.
Late last year, the Japanese manufacturer unveiled an updated Quon with efficiency and environmental sustainability front of mind.
Boasting the new Euro 6-compliant 11-litre engine as well as the 12-speed ESCOT automated manual transmission, the new Quon variants will pump out between 390-460hp. Torque figures read 2,250Nm for the 460hp model, and 2,000Nm for the 400hp and 430hp variants.
Like everything within the VGA stable, the new Quon comes fitted with a plethora of safety features, like the Traffic Eye cruise control with a new stop and driver-initiated go function, the Traffic Eye brake system, a lane departure warning system, and UD’s stability control that automatically detects and adjusts engine output and braking to retain truck stability.
With the growth in popularity of the UD brand and the Japanese truck segment, we’re sure there will be plenty of pundits hovering around the new Quon line-up. Make sure you check it out.
Location: Stand 49, Hall 3
Iveco Showcases S-Way
Iveco Australia is giving its long-awaited S-Way truck the first public outing it deserves at the 2023 Brisbane Truck Show.
The S-Way is arguably the Italian brand’s most important truck ever. With sales going strong in Europe, Iveco will be hoping the S-Way can increase its heavy-duty market share in Australia.
Officially launched in March this year, the S-Way is available in both rigid (6×2, 6×4 and 8×4) and prime mover (4×2 and 6×4) configurations; and in three cab options, Active Day (AD), Active Time (AT) and the largest of all, Active Space (AS). Additionally, three cab height options are available across the line-up.
Under the bonnet you’ll have the option of three Euro 6-compliant engines: the 8.7-litre Cursor 9, the 11.1-litre Cursor 11 and the flagship 12.9-litre Cursor 13. Power output ranges from 360hp to 550hp and torque figures between 1,650Nm to 2,500Nm.
Iveco says the S-Way is one of its most fuel-efficient and emissions-efficient trucks yet thanks to its patented HI-eSCR emission control technology when coupled with its 12- or 16-speed Hi-Tronix auto transmission.
Designed in Germany and Italy with input from Iveco Australia and NZ, the local Iveco S-Way features some unique choices not offered in other markets.
On the AS B-double model, variances include revised battery box and air tank positioning, the addition of a heavy-duty cross member to provide extra durability on demanding local roads, along with fitment of an additional fuel tank.
This model also features market-specific air and electrical trailer connections, a trailer brake hand control and flat glass for side mirrors.
The S-Way development program also showcases the high levels of cooperation within Iveco’s design, engineering, manufacturing and validation centres.
With innovation and collaboration at its core, the reveal of the all-new S-Way at the Brisbane Truck Show will be one to look out for!
Location: Stand 58, Hall 1
Hino Goes Hybrid
Like many international brands, Hino is working on next-generation EV and hydrogen power plants.
But unlike most, Hino already offers an innovative low-emissions vehicle that’s tried, tested and available in Australia now … hybrid electric technology.
The Hino 300 hybrid-electric is the country’s only hybrid electric truck, and, with no range restrictions or recharging requirements, they’re getting more and more popular.
“Rising fuel prices and an increased focus from customers wanting to minimise their environmental impact has seen sales of Australia’s only hybrid electric light-duty truck soar,” Hino Australia’s Department Manager – Product Strategy Daniel Petrovski says.
“Not only do our hybrid electric models meet Euro 6 exhaust emissions standards, recent real-world trials comparing the proven Hino hybrid electric truck against a traditional diesel equivalent revealed a 22 per cent reduction in fuel use and CO2 emissions,” he adds.
Hino has sold over 700 hybrid trucks since it launched the technology over 15 years ago, and the range will expand further with the new Hino 300 hybrid electric ‘built-to-go’ products available in Hino dealerships from July 2023.
Location: Stand 61, Hal